WHO Poll
Q: 2018/19 Wolves (H)
a. At last we have a win now let's make it two, Win
48%
  
b. A win against 10 men and two leagues below us is fine, but this will be much harder I'll take a point, Draw
13%
  
c. Who are we kidding, a win against Wimbledon and all is rosy, forget it we're getting our arses kicked in this one, Lose
30%
  
d. It's at times like these when you really do miss Love Island
2%
  
e. I was all over this game until I found out it's not on the box, the broadcasting companies really don't care about us hard core fans do they, I might pop off to Thorpe Park for the day instead, obviously in my WHU shirt
8%
  



Alan 2:22 Sun Jul 15
West Ham - the Premier League's most interesting club this year
Tifo

West Ham will be the Premier League’s most interesting club this year

West Ham might have finally got this right. July is obviously no time to draw conclusions about what lies ahead, but their summer transfer policy has been encouragingly aggressive. For the first summer in a while, there appears a clear logic to the way they’ve moved through the market and, without question, Manuel Pellegrini will be managing the strongest squad in the club’s recent history.

The headline acts are Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko. There is a caveat there in that they both operate best from the right side of midfield, but that can be filed – for the moment – under “a good problem to have”.

Elsewhere Issa Diop has built a fine reputation in France and should immediately improve the centre of defence, while Ryan Fredericks was a key component in Fulham’s promotion last season. A quick, ambitious full-back – also capable of operating slightly further forward – he, along with new goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski (arguably Swansea’s player of the season in 2018-19), should complete a satisfying upgrade to a back-line which had been allowed to deteriorate for some time.

Of the major deals, Jack Wilshere’s signing is the only questionable move. Wilshere has always been spritely with the ball at his feet and his creative attributes aren’t in question. However, whether his inability to be effective without the ball can really be accommodated remains to be seen, particularly within a side which will carry a lot of forward-looking players ahead of him.

There are also concerns about his fitness, naturally, but on a free-transfer and with wages adjusted to his new, lesser status in the game, he’s probably a risk worth taking.

So far, so positive. Even for the neutrals it’s an exciting prospect. Yarmolenko is probably a year or two beyond his very best, he was disappointing in the Bundesliga, but Anderson is an extremely capable player and any unit involving him and Marko Arnautovic should be great fun to watch.

Where there is West Ham, though, there are concerns. The first and most obvious relates to who concluded these deals and how much say Pellegrini really had in them. That might prove to be unfair, but history has shown that the club is owned by people who, traditionally, have been far too involved in its transfer mechanics. At times, David Gold and David Sullivan have operated as de facto sporting directors when, really, they would have been better advised to hand those responsibilities off to someone more qualified.
On current evidence, that lesson does seem to have been learnt. West Ham’s sporting infrastructure has been rebuilt and their scouting procedures have been brought up to modern standards. Nevertheless, that many of these deals were announced on personal twitter accounts does suggest that some of the old habits remain. It’s not a coincidence that all the most successful owners and executives around the league have virtually no public presence and that’s something which Sullivan and Gold are yet to come to terms with. Both they and Karren Brady are still too visible and, really, it’s time for the club’s performance to start speaking on their behalf.

Chemistry will always determine the success of recruitment. How do these players fit in with Pellegrini’s vision for his West Ham are going to be? If these new arrivals have been hand-picked to solve issues he has identified in the side, then all should be well, but if this is just another round of vanity purchasing then their effect might not be so positive. Michail Antonio is now without a natural place in the side, Manuel Lanzini will have to be accommodated once he returns from injury, and Mark Noble’s place is no longer guaranteed. Those are the kind of challenges which any manager with a well-stocked squad must face, but it’s also the kind of competition – involving strong characters – which can cause ructions if not entirely by design.

That’s the second layer of intrigue. First and foremost, this team could be capable of producing some incendiary football – who doesn’t want to see that? – but to do that they must first exist in harmony. In essence, 2018-19 will be a good measure of West Ham’s institutional maturity and whether, after those initials misfires, the advantages of London Stadium are finally being properly expoited.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

folkestone iron 9:58 Tue Jul 17
Re: West Ham - the Premier League's most interesting club this year
4ever-blowin-bubbles 6:07 Mon Jul 16

Mex Martillo 7:36 Mon Jul 16
Re: West Ham - the Premier League's most interesting club this year
Well said 4ever

4ever-blowin-bubbles 6:07 Mon Jul 16
Re: West Ham - the Premier League's most interesting club this year
as a fan to me west ham will always be the most interesting club every season

Mad Dog 4:37 Mon Jul 16
Re: West Ham - the Premier League's most interesting club this year
Far cough. I'd like to see rice play there

Dr Moose 4:33 Mon Jul 16
Re: West Ham - the Premier League's most interesting club this year
We'll see how it goes when we play Salahpool opening day of the season.

Sir Alf 2:32 Mon Jul 16
Re: West Ham - the Premier League's most interesting club this year
For me the reason I am such a miserable. negative old git ( aside from being a old miserable git) is the worry and stress of watching a team that is struggling. Its hard to enjoy games when you know the team has gaping holes and deficiencies. We lacked a decent full backs on and off for years, forwards too and reliance on injury prone crocks.

I simply want to look forward to games even against the better teams and not be worried about relegation every year.

I believe I can see some light at the end of the tunnel at last. Just hope its not the light of an oncoming train. :-) Hope is a terrible thing.

Mex Martillo 1:57 Mon Jul 16
Re: West Ham - the Premier League's most interesting club this year
I cannot wait for the West Ham show to start

the exile 9:24 Sun Jul 15
Re: West Ham - the Premier League's most interesting club this year
Fascinating, more like. Completely new management team, seven new signings, all of whom could be in the first team, and we may not have finished our transfer business yet. Everyone (journos, commentators and pundits) is going to be referring to us as "the new-look West Ham". I would normally say that a bit of continuity is a good thing but after such a poor season, a makeover such as this can only be a good thing. How good? That's what makes it so fascinating.

Lertie Button 8:37 Sun Jul 15
Re: West Ham - the Premier League's most interesting club this year
"Interesting", fuck me that's damming us with faint praise

Far Cough 5:13 Sun Jul 15
Re: West Ham - the Premier League's most interesting club this year
Capitol Man 4:56 Sun Jul 15
Re: West Ham - the Premier League's most interesting club this year
What is left to address in the squad?

A very good DM

lab 5:09 Sun Jul 15
Re: West Ham - the Premier League's most interesting club this year
And good news on your health front .

lab 5:05 Sun Jul 15
Re: West Ham - the Premier League's most interesting club this year
Thanks Alan. Good read. I'm so fucked off with the Carroll and Reid situation tho. Sorry probably not relevant to this thread.

Capitol Man 4:56 Sun Jul 15
Re: West Ham - the Premier League's most interesting club this year
What is left to address in the squad?

geoffpikey 2:55 Sun Jul 15
Re: West Ham - the Premier League's most interesting club this year
Expoited???

Decent, if obvious, arguments. A basic spell-check might make it more convincing though! 6/10. (Any cunt can be an online "journalist" these days.)

Coffee 2:46 Sun Jul 15
Re: West Ham - the Premier League's most interesting club this year
Charley, an entirely understandable assumption after spending more than 5 consecutive minutes on WHO.

charleyfarley 2:42 Sun Jul 15
Re: West Ham - the Premier League's most interesting club this year
Yes good article, but nothing Pellegrini wouldn't have encountered before
Coffee thought I'd misread your contribution and you had said 'are included to beef up the word c(o)unt'

Coffee 2:34 Sun Jul 15
Re: West Ham - the Premier League's most interesting club this year
Good article. I suspect the concerns, though legitimate to an extent, are included to beef up the word count.

Thanks, Alan.





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